What is a Beta Reader, What do They do, and Can I be One?

Okay, before I begin to whet your appetite for my story, I thought I should explain a little bit about what Beta Readers are and what they do.

Almost anyone can be a Beta Reader.  The requirements are:

  1.  You have to read a lot and know what makes a good story.
  2. It’s best to be a Beta Reader for the genre of book you read the most because that’s the one you’re most familiar with.  So, if your favorite genre is fantasy and that’s what you read the most, that is the genre you should be a Beta Reader for.
  3. Beta Readers are volunteers.  They do not get paid, but they do get benefits (I’ll point these out later).
  4. It is helpful, but not absolutely necessary, that the Beta Reader know something about writing.
  5. A Beta Reader may need to give some information about him or herself or sign an agreement stating that he or she will do the job of a Beta Reader and will not try to claim the work as his or her own and try to publish it.

What does a Beta Reader Do?

  1.  A Beta Reader gets the privilege of reading a writer’s book BEFORE it gets published (we’re talking fresh from the writing process).
  2. As a Beta Reader reads the writer’s book, he or she should be paying close attention to the story and make notes on things like:  Does the story make sense?  Is there anything that’s confusing?  Does the story capture your attention on page one and keep it, throughout the book?  Do you care about the characters and what happens to them?  Is there anywhere that the author loses you or where the story slows too much?  etc.  (You may receive a sheet of questions the writer would like addressed along with the completed manuscript).
  3. The Beta Reader is asked to read and return the story with their notes in a specific amount of time.

What are the benefits to being a Beta Reader?

  1.  Well, as I mentioned above, Beta Readers are some of the first readers of the author’s completed manuscript, as they get to read it and give feedback to help the writer in making changes that would improve the story before publication.
  2. A good writer will send you a thank you note and/or gift and/or list you on an acknowledgements page in the published book.

So, now you know what a Beta Reader is and does and what kind of benefits he or she receives, so now you can seriously think about whether or not you’d like to be a Beta Reader for me as you find out little tidbits about my story in the next few posts.

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